Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fatima's. A Riad high in the Sierra Cabreras.

I can be indecisive about where to go to eat. It can be a hard card to play. If you recommend somewhere you have enjoyed,it may not be the same for someone else. We still laugh with my sister in law, as in 40 years we have only ever left one restaurant and that was one she had recommended.

I am sure you are getting the picture!

So, today with it being Mothering Sunday I could not wriggle out of the decision making process. I could not defer the choice. It has been such a treat to have our daughter and her partner with us.and in return they wanted to treat us/ME!



And they were having none of my usual " I really don't mind" nonsense. Now the men love a local Tapas Bar. I love the local Tapas Bar. The Tapas is excellent. But not Tapas for me today.

I have been wanting to try a restaurant called Fatima's for ages. It is nestled high in the Sierra Cabrera mountain range near us. It is Morroccan in style. My favourite style in all the world. I was quietly so excited.

And the entrance entranced me!

Morrocan,beautiful, and just up my mountain.



And what a treat as soon as you stepped inside the courtyard. The planting fountains,pots and plants.

Simply magical.


I absolutely love the blue of Morrocco.
The blue of the shutters,the pots and the tiles.


Now, when you are being treated you really can not disappear for ages taking photos but this one made me smile. A true chip off the old block. Lindsay was busy snapping away too.

Outside was stunning,but so was inside.
Those tiles.
Those lamps.
Those fountains and plates.


Artefacts and inlay.



Now,surely we should talk about the food...... Well, the best thing was the food spoke for itself.

I have already left my My Trip Advisor review it was the best you could give.



The service was great.

I loved it ... ALL!


Well of course we had to leave.

Leave the art.



Leave the architecture.



Today, I loved being a Mum.

We also had a great phone call from our youngest daughter and a great Skype from our son,daughter in law and young William.

Absolutely perfect.

And we will return to Fatima's on another special day soon.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Gorgeous Granola.

Whenever we have visitors I like them to have a really relaxed start to the day.I hate shotgun starts. I am the last person on earth who would don a pinny and cook breakfast. I actually am not grumpy in the mornings. I just spend the first thirty minutes,at least,fighting my way through a foggy, cotton wool state.

So, I put a pretty cloth on the work top and then layer it up with yummy things.




Some in jars,some in tins.






Some shop bought but mostly home made. Home made marmalade in a cut glass pot. Home made Granola in a big jar. Tins of various cereals. And then in the morning I just have to add the fresh things. Home made yogurts, fresh fruit and a great big jug of freshly squeezed orange juice. Well when you can buy 3 kilos of oranges on the market for 1 Euro it would be mean not too.



So, there we have it. My answer to breakfast.

Perhaps you would like to try the Granola I make. It's yummy and quite healthy. The trouble is it's also very moreish and tempting at other times of the day too.

Here we Granola a go,go.


300g of porridge oats.

100g of sunflower seeds.

100g of pumpkin seeds

2-3 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

100g of mixed nuts roughly chopped.

100g dried fruit. I like to use cranberries. The little red berries look really pretty in the jar.

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

3 tablespoons of honey

8 tablespoons of maple syrup.


This is really quick to make,and you work like this.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl keeping the cranberries aside until later.



Mix the vegetable oil,honey and syrup together.

Mix the dried ingredients into the syrup mixture and stir well ensuring all the ingredients get a coating. Try and resist nibbling bits at this point!!!

Lay the mixture on 2 baking trays. I line these with grease proof paper.

Cook in an oven at 150 degree for 15 mins.

Take it out and mix it up with a palette knife and add the berries.

Pop it back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it at this stage. You want it to be gently golden but not burnt.



Leave to cool on the tray then break up the mixture and pop in a pretty airtight jar.


Breakfast. Petit Dejeuner. Desayuno. Gorgeous in any language.




Sunday, 23 March 2014

Upcycled Easter.

I really do love seeing something,and,then, in a moment seeing that very same thing transformed into something else. I think it is the result of spending so many years with the " littlies." I still look at an empty loo roll as a funnel for a ship. Or, a Dairylea box as a wheel for a car!

I love the Greek yogurt from Lidl. It's creamy and soft. Perfect with fruit for breakfast. I washed the pots and put them in the cupboard. A bucket I thought. No further along the thought process than that.

I have blogged before about M.A.C.S here in Spain. It is a charitable organisation helping Cancer sufferers. It helps every nationality and denomination. Just about perfect. Obviously taking unwanted things is easy. Buying things even easier. But I got to thinking. The shops are a little bit utilitarian. A far cry from some of the ones I love in the U.K. Hannah's,near me at home in Devon is like an emporium of goodies and treats.

So, slowly over the last few weeks I have been thinking about Easter and M.A.C.S. Everyone loves the Spring and Easter celebrations. And they asked if I could help with the window display. Just up my crafty street.

Here we have it. First task was to enjoy the yogurt. And then as easy as 1,2,3 the container becomes a very good bucket for an Easter Egg Hunt or a home for a rabbit.


A spotty pillowcase from the very same shop.

Cut and stick.

There's always space for a little ribbon!



Pop in a rabbit and add a little Easter label tied with ribbon.


Not just one, but two little rabbits needing an Easter home.


And,add the other cute chicks and bunnies I have made, and there we have it. A little bit of Easter ready to be delivered tomorrow.



Have you spotted the prettiest Easter table cloth? I found it on the market here last week for 3 Euros.

It is simply beautiful and worth a blog post all of its own. I have come to wonder how many linens a girl needs. I have not come to a conclusion but know I have not reached my complete quota yet.

I think of many of my lovely blogger friends when I see pretty ones here on the markets. They would love them so much. A few with flowers, a few with leaves. I could go on.

The trouble is I would love to know the story behind each and every one.

These sweet little stitches and cut work. And there on the back I saw a clue when I was ironing it.

A name label. I am going to do some Googling!


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Just having a think!

Sometimes things stop me in my tracks. I spend a while mulling such things over. This mulling and consideration often does not lead to a conclusion. Perhaps the conclusion is not important. Perhaps it's this very mulling which is the essence,the seed,the embryo. What it develops into ... Perhaps just thoughts thrown on the wind.

I think I used to be more judgemental than I am now. I had that wonderful confidence that youth brings. That shining light that leads you to wave banners on student protests.

That stroppines that leads you into minor or even major disagreements with your parents.

That arrogance that when you start a new job, it let's you believe you are the one who knows how it should be done.

I remember moaning to my Mum one day when I was quite grown up. I was going over old issues about sibling rivalry. I was pretending to be totally grown up and understanding about the situation. In reality I was trying to score a point. An old point. An unimportant point. A point that should have been laid to rest years before. I was the only person it was bothering.

My Mum looked at me and very calmly said " maybe that is how you remember it,but that's not how it was !"

It was said without malice,anger or even frustration just gently. I thought about this for ages and will never forget those words.

It's not just about memories it's about perceptions. I remember crying to someone many years ago about a very important issue. My tears and obvious distress were totally unheeded. I still feel that hardness of attitude unkind. I drove away crying. But I came to realise I could not win that battle because I thought I was in the right. I was in my right but not hers. Her right was completely different. We were looking at the same thing but with completely opposite perspectives.

So, where is this rambling leading. I had the most wonderful response to my last post about my moment of "fame!" But there amongst the comments was one from an anonymous follower. It went like this.

"You are a wonderful person Linda,it shines through and you certainly don't look your age. I have read your blog for a long time but never had the guts to comment. I think that you must be a wonderful Mum,Nan,Wife but most of all,you as a person. My parents chose to live in a different country ten years ago.I am married with two boys aged 7 and11. I miss having family near and often question their choice. I feel sad for you,with William living in Dubai. He is so lucky to have you both as Grandparents.You reach out to people,even on a page.The blog you wrote about stopping the well dressed lady,who looked sad and you told her,that she looked lovely.Well that made me cry.The world needs more people like you. We all carry things around with us,that we don't tell people about.We put a brave face on and smile,there are also times,that you want someone to see through it and show compassion.Your that type of person. Sorry to go on. X"

I wish I could contact this lovely person. I have thought about her words a great deal. She obviously misses her parents so much. I think it easy,well fairly easy to babble on here at Chalky's but yet she is worried to comment. I hope she does again soon. I hope there is someone who sees her need for a gentle hug. We all need those so much.

And then this morning I was reading this lovely blog

I have been a follower of Leanne since she first started her blog and I love the way she writes. She makes me laugh, she makes me chuckle, she makes me feel better. I think about her when she is on the bottom of one of her beautiful waves in St. Ives. I just love the way she tells it just as it is. She has ups, downs and all arounds. But her honesty always shows through.

This morning there was an anonymous comment on her latest post.

Anonymous22 March 2014 05:51

so nice to see honesty in the blog world - so often the apparent perfection of everyone else's life leaves me feeling very inadequate. I've been feeling bit like you, and someone recommended mindfulness in a frantic world (available on amazon quite cheaply but get the proper book as it has a cd of mindfulness exercises attached, which the kindle doesn't). oh, and try and find some sun as vitamin d helps...hope you feel better soon but be gentle with yourself in the meantime

I have thought about this comment all day. I totally understand her sentiments about blogging. I rarely open up and tell it just as it is. This is not so much of an issue about my life these days as getting older has its definite rewards ... Not so much angst, not so much to worry about, not such a hectic lifestyle. Getting older brings a certain amount of anonymity in this judgemental world of ours. No one really notices if my hair,nails,make up etc are on trend!

But, blogging is about thoughts. How often do we put a brave face on it? How often do we fail to see someone else needing a hug? How often do we perceive that things are amazing?

I glibly put a sharing poster about Cancer on my Facebook page once. I agreed with the sentiments but I did not think about it deeply. I soon changed my perceptions when an old college friend wrote to tell me he was battling a long and non successful fight with that horrible disease.

The balance between choosing to blog about all the good things in our lives without realising it could make someone feel inadequate, and choosing to perhaps bare our soul a little is a hard one. Not only can you feel inadequate by some of the stunning blogs out there in Blogland, sometimes you can feel downright envious. But that is a challenge I hit head on. Envy and jealousy are horrible feelings so I just count my lucky stars a few more times before I drift off to sleep and as I awake each morning. This acknowledgment by actually counting and mindfully thinking about all the good things I have has helped my personal developement so much in recent years. I might admire things, tons of things. Admiring is different than coveting. A want is so very different than a need.

I hope to be in the blogging world for a long time. It has come to mean a lot to me, as have the the lovely virtual friends I have made,and am continuing to make. They are special because they are able and brave enough to let me see a little way past their beautiful photos and a little way into their hearts.

Oh, and Leanne this photo is for you. With love.




Thursday, 20 March 2014

Women's Weekly and Me!

My dear Mother In Law,Iris loved women's magazines and liked to buy them all every week. She would read them from cover to cover, do the puzzles and word searches and try some recipes. To be honest there was always a big pile by her chair looking for a good home. Now I don't mind a flick through, but I am not a great magazine I used to take them and drop them into the doctors surgery or the hospital waiting room. Now a Cookery Book... Yes, I read cookery books like novels.

Anyway,I so wish my dear Mother In Law was still alive because she would be tickled pink to see me peeping out from the pages of one of her favourites Women's Weekly very soon.

I was contacted a while back by a freelance writer who submits articles to a variety of magazines. She was writing about older bloggers!!! Well after a lot of tooing and froing it was decided Chalky's World was deemed fit for the purpose. And seeing as I had my sixtieth birthday last year I definitely fitted the brief.

So, my blog was checked and the next requirement was to have my photo taken. Oh! Oh! Oh! That is one of the things I hate most in the world. But,I decided to surround myself with my favourite things. Crochet and coffee. I wanted to look industrious so Andy took the photo of me looking down crocheting.

Now,I had already requested as much airbrushing as possible to be done at Women's Weekly headquarters but that photo was batted straight back. I had to look up. Well, we tried one,.... Too saggy,.... Another, .... Too baggy,... Another, ... Too awful . So this one had to do!


After we had sent it I realised my boobs were stretching my shirt. I hope they airbrush that !

Maybe this one would gave been better after all. I have thought differently about all the pictures in OK magazine ever since. What a trial to have your photo taken the whole time.


Then we had a Skype interview. I was nervous,but all was fine. Gillian the writer has four tiny children and never actually showed her face. How she manages to write and look after four little ones under four astounds me. Whenever I get nervous I remember my Mums words. Just imagine the person in a normal scenario.... It never worked for my driving examiner but it did for Gillian.

She sounded lovely and the result of all this is on the 26th March 2014 Women's Weekly is being published with an article about Bloggers.

And one of them is ME!

Thank you Gillian .



Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Days come and Days Go. Make the most of every precious one.

Our youngest daughter, Briony, arrived last Thursday with her friend Bex and her son Harry. Harry is 18 months old and delightful. Bex and Briony met a long time ago in Thailand and have recently met up again in Barcelona where Briony has loved getting to know Harry.


There is something very special about spending time with little ones. To see new adventures through their eyes helps to make you feel young again I think. He was a good boy,a sweet boy,a gentle boy, a chatty boy,and, we really enjoyed having him to stay with his Mummy.


And then the next day our daughters partner arrived from America where he had been working. It was so lovely seeing her set off full of excitement to pick him up from the airport. They have been together for a year now but because of work they have only spent two months actually together. But that separation ended this weekend. They have now got a job together and their happiness was palpable. What else do parents need but to see their children happy and well.

Of course I quietly watched,of course I listened, of course I did some thinking. BUT we really liked Bernie. He is from South Africa and yet it might seem that he had been brought up by friends nearby. I listened to him talk proudly and lovingly about his sister,his parents and his grandparents. All good in my book. I saw how he was with little Harry. Patient,happy,fun and kind. I saw how he was with us . Interested,happy to be with us,generous and content to just "be"

But what was the best,the very best was how he was with Briony. He looks straight into her eyes when they are talking. He listens to what she has to say without interrupting. He smiles at her all the time. He keeps her close whilst they are watching films and he shares his breakfast with her! I watched quietly but with a very happy heart.

The sun shone on the beachfront bars. The sea was blue and sparkling.




So, we have met Bernie. We were so happy to welcome him. And now they have gone. Harry and his Mummy.



And Briony and Bernie.



My goodness it seems quiet this morning. But a good kind of quiet. A calm,reflective kind of quiet. A happy contented kind of quiet,because we have met Bernie and we really like him.

They want to make each other happy... And that's all you need really.... In my book.



And you, my lovely followers helped me this weekend. Your words of encouragement made me more confident that all would be well. And, it was. Thank you so much x x x